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Hello, everyone! Interested in building Numismatic as your hobby? But do not know from where to start? So keeping in mind about the beginners, we have brought the basics of Numismatics for you. Today we have got few amazing Numismatics facts to add to your knowledge. So get little curious and let’s get started.

  • What is Numismatics?

The word ‘Numismatics’ simply means “collection and study of coins”. Coins may be collected for scholarly or historical purposes, such as to gain a deeper insight into past cultures, for financial profit, or purely as a hobby.

The major shift is seen in Numismatics from the 20th century. People are making a huge investment in Numismatics because of its huge prices!

Now let’s get to know more of these amazing numismatics facts!

 

  • Why is Numismatics important?

Coins as a source of history throw light on economics, religion, society and other important events. A mass of information can be gathered by the study of different types of coins, symbols, monograms, inscriptions, portraiture, fabric, metallurgy etc. This data is extremely valuable for the study of ancient Indian political history as they are a primary source.

 

The coins give us information about the titles of kings. For examples, the Sakas bore ‘Maharajadhiraja’, Chandragupta II bore ‘Ajitvikramaha’ and ‘Simhavikramah’, Raja Raja I Chola bore ‘Rajakesari’, ‘ Arumoli’ and ‘Mummudi-Chola’ etc. These titles give us an insight into the political and territorial extent of these mighty empires of India.

 

Coins throw light on the history of scripts and languages also. For example Brahmi, Kharoshthi and Greek scripts were popular during the Kushan period as is indicated by their coins. We can also trace the development and evolution of the various scripts through coins.

 

Coins are a piece of art and thus a coin, which is a piece of an ‘odd and curious metal’, can be used as a source of information. They provide detailed information about the socio-economic, cultural, religious and other aspects of the life of the people.

 

Numismatics is one the most authentic and reliable source of history! There are much more such numismatics facts and the list never ends.

 

Pick one coin from your collection and try to build history!

 

  • What led to the invention of the coin?

Since man came into existence he tried experimenting with new things. With the progress of mankind and community, needs and cravings also increased; in turn giving rise to goods and commodities.

At this stage, the mutual exchange of commodities was introduced. In the beginning, agricultural products were used as the medium of exchange. Pastoral Vedic people used their cows in their transactions. This system was called as the barter system.

 

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But due to its drawbacks, a new method of exchange evolved. The pieces of metals, stones, and crowie shells proved to be more stable in value than agricultural products or livestock and hence with the course of time coins came into existence.

Read about the evolution of coins.

 

  • Which is the oldest coin in the world? Who were the first coin creators?

The Lydians are believed to be first people to strike coins around 600-700 BC with Lion emblem on electrum piece. Read in detail about the Lydian coins.

Simultaneously even Indian Punched Mark Coins are seen emerging during this period and the continuous research claims that PMC coins are the very first coins in the world!

 

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View the earliest coins of India.

The literary references of gold bullion or ‘Hiranya pinda’ are also found is Rig Veda. The great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata also mention ‘Hirayana’ and ‘Suvarna’ as a medium of exchange. Both of the words mean gold or a precious metal.

Kautilya (also famously known as Chanakya) in his Arthasastra has described how coins were manufactured. We also get a clear evidence of coins from the writings of Herodotus (Greek Historian) and through Panini’s Asthadhyayi.

These terms indicate that usage of the coin had become common among the people in India as early as the Vedic era.

 

  • Who was the first person to collect coin?

Any guesses?

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It was August Caesar- The great emperor of Rome. He collected coins and added more coins to his collection.  It is said that Augustus gave coins of every device which included old pieces of the kings and foreign money in a Roman festival as gifts.

So you can imagine how old the hobby of collecting coins is.

 

  • Who are the enemies of the coin?

Thieves of course! Well…there are other things lurking around hidden from sight that damage our coins!

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Invisible to the naked eye humidity is the worst enemy of the coin. However, different metals react differently in the different temperature. Care has to be taken while handling, packing and storing the coins.

Amongst other, Verdigris (Patina) is the thin layer of chemical compound usually formed on the Copper coins.  The silver coin gets oxidizes when they come in contact with the humidity. PVC, crystallization, internal corrosion, etc are the other damages of the coin.

So…where have you been storing your coin since long?

 

  • What makes a coin valuable?

This is the very common question in the mind of the beginners. Here’s a simple answer: Age, rarity, condition, and metal decide the value of a coin. Still confused?

  •  Rarity is one of the most important factors in establishing the value of a coin. Generally speaking, a scarce or rare coin will sell for considerably more than a more common coin.

 

  • The Age of the coin is important but not the sole factor in determining the value of the coin. We have a good example to explain this. The Punch Marked coins are sold for INR 280 which is as low as $ 4 while the one rupee coin of 1970 is INR 5,500 which is $ 78. So the age of the coin coupled with other factors determines the cost or the value of a coin.

 

  • The condition of the coin is very important factor in establishing value. The condition is the grading of the coin. The higher the grade the higher is the price.  How appealing is the coin to your eyes describes the condition of the coin!

 

  • The metal of the coin is, of course, important. The Gold and Silver will have a higher value in terms of costs than that of Copper, Lead, and Aluminum.

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  • How do we grade a coin?

The Sheldon Grading Scale is a 70-point scale for grading coins which is used by far by many countries.  It grades the coins from Basal State 1 which is a coin of very poor quality to Mint State 70 being the best perfect coin. Here’s a diagram of the scale to make it simpler for you:

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  • Who mints coins in India?

 

The Indian Government Mint mints the current Indian coin. And according to The Coinage Act 1906, the Government of India is responsible for the production and supply of the coins to Reserve Bank of India.

The coins minted by Indian Government Mint are minted from the following cities: Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Noida.

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Have you ever noticed the mint marks on coins?

Explore them on this.

We hope that we sorted all of your common doubts about coins. In case we left any, comment below.

Register and remain in touch with our website to explore more.

Happy collecting!

The Mintage World Team comprises of experts, researchers and writers from the field of Philately, Notaphily and Numismatics who try to shed light on some of the most interesting aspects of coins, banknotes and stamps from not just India but across the globe as well.

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